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Marlena Applebaum

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

Astrological Counseling

 
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“My evenings are taken up very largely with astrology. I make horoscopic calculations in order to find a clue to the core of psychological truth. Some remarkable things have turned up which will certainly appear incredible to you.”

~Carl Jung in a letter to Sigmund Freud (June 12, 1911)

 

Astrological Counseling

I offer astrological counseling for psycho-spiritual exploration, understanding, and transformation. Astrology utilized in this way can be a missing key for deep inner work and can shed light on the path towards greater harmony with the natural rhythms and cycles of one’s life journey. My approach to astrology is to share the potentials and opportunities I see while exploring how the symbols and archetypes are manifesting uniquely for each individual. Astrology is a wonderful tool for self-knowledge and a help in times of challenge or transition. It can facilitate tremendous insight and peace, as well as provide timelines for certain archetypal or energetic influences reflected in our lives and inner states of being. Consultations available for birth chart exploration, current influences, relationship dynamics, and timing for important events. 

 

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No Justice, No Peace

 
Art-by-Quote-Fancy.jpg

 

Saturn dips into Aquarius: March 22 — July 1, 2020, initiating Saturn square Uranus

Saturn leaves Capricorn for a few months, creating a little more distance between Saturn and Pluto. While these two planets take a break from sharing the same sign, many are experiencing a decreased level of alarm related to the pandemic (sensibly or not, we will find out later) and the dark Saturn-Pluto themes of fear and confinement. At the same time we are getting a taste of what the next couple of years may be like. For most of 2021 and 2022 we will be embroiled in another powerful planetary alignment: Saturn in Aquarius square Uranus in Taurus. This transit could be described as the status quo power structures (Saturn) poised in a tug of war (square) with the voices for radical change (Uranus) to confront and uproot racial injustice, economic injustice, environmental injustice, and all other forms of systemic institutionalized oppression and bondage. We are seeing a strong uprising against the horrific brutalities that commonly occur against people of color (George Floyd being a last straw). And this is just the beginning, virus or not. I am finding myself grieving deeply about the pain my beloved brothers and sisters of color have endured for centuries. Mercifully this is now once again becoming too flagrant for white people to ignore. Along with the grief, my heart is also rejoicing as I watch the ubiquitous inequities come to light more visibly for white people to see. Seeds of real change are being planted now correlating with this transit. It is a square, so no surprise, change and reform will not happen without great struggle... 

 

Current Eclipses: June 5, June 21, and July 5, 2020

We can thank these eclipses for helping to usher in, highlight, and spotlight things that are normally hidden (to white people that is, in this case). Eclipses are ultra potent lunations. New Moons and especially Full Moons are always impactful and emotional, but eclipses amplify the power and volatility of our emotions. 

 

Venus Retrograde: May 13 — June 25, 2020

Venus, the planet of love, also rules justice (people with a Libra emphasis in their chart can testify to this), because advocating for justice is love in action. Venus is currently retrograde — offering us this opportune time to reflect on the pandemic of systemic injustice that is sickening and killing so many. We have a lot of work to do to attempt to make amends and to heal. Unless we are continually remembering and recognizing our lack of awareness, lack of sensitivity, and lack of education about our country’s present and not so distant history, then we are part of the problem. The first step is to acknowledge the truth. Then we must have authentic empathy and be willing to listen and hear with an open heart. Empathy, listening, vulnerable sharing, love… This is Venus territory. Retrograde times encourage us and sometimes force us to make corrections and figure out how to make things right. 

 

Mars in Pisces: May 14 — June 28, 2020

How does Mars, the warrior, navigate and fight while in the sensitive, emotional, and oceanic oneness of Pisces waters? We are seeing it unfold before our eyes in gut wrenching and beautiful ways. We are all being called to stand up to and overcome anything within ourselves or within society that fails to reflect the unity of humanity as a whole. We can only forget or pretend to be in our own little world separate from one another, but in Pisces it is impossible to ignore the pain of the collective. Pisces reminds us we are all connected, we are all one. And Mars is impelling us to fight for liberty and justice for all. We have to transform those meaningful words from the tragic hypocrisy they have come to represent, into a present lived reality.

 

(Art by Quote Fancy)


An Astrological Timeline for the Pandemic

 
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Many astrologers anticipated the dramatic and gnarly aspects of 2020 in advance, but astrology is not like looking into a crystal ball. Astrology is a language of symbols, so what astrologers can see ahead of time is the symbolism pointing toward a variety of possibilities. We can see archetypal themes, energies, and influences that will be active within a particular timeframe, but it is usually not possible or productive to try to predict exact specifics regarding concrete manifestations. Instead of trying to predict the future, I find astrology to be most helpful in the moment or in retrospect, as a tool par excellence for making sense of what is happening, and for strengthening faith that there is a divine order and intelligence behind the scenes. This gives me solace in times of difficulty… So now that we have a clue about what we are dealing with in 2020, I have drafted my ideas for how some of the aspects this year might portray the global issues we are facing. This is definitely a work in progress (originally posted on 4/16/2020). 

  

The Prelude

  • December 3, 2019: Jupiter enters Capricorn 

When Jupiter entered Capricorn, it joined Saturn, Pluto, and the South node — three challenging influences already in Capricorn. This created a cluster of big and formidable forces clumped together. When in Capricorn Jupiter takes on the flavor of that sign, which is diametrically opposed to Jupiter’s own nature. And in this sign Jupiter is also under Saturn’s stern rule. So in this case Jupiter does not have as much power to bestow its usual beneficence, but it still confers expansion upon everything it touches.

  • Dec 26, 2019: Solar Eclipse conjunct Jupiter in Capricorn
  • January 10, 2020: Lunar Eclipse opposite Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn

These two eclipses set the stage for at least 6 months. Where eclipses fall in a chart, they are known to usher in phases of volatile changes. In this instance, the eclipses activated the challenging and complex placements bunched together in Capricorn (Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, the South node, and Mars to join as a trigger). Over the course of 2020 we will see their joint magnitude unfold. The eclipses offer somber foreshadowing.

 

The Rising Action

  • January 12, 2020: Saturn conjunct Pluto in Capricorn

Two “dark” forces converge. Nothing in astrology is actually dark, but what is constellated above can reflect back to us what may appear dark from the ego’s limited perspective (Example: from the earth’s point of view the pandemic has caused less fuel consumption and less pollution). Historically, the configuration of Saturn and Pluto in aspect to one another was associated with international war, genocide, plagues, or other tragedies and in response a reactionary impulse towards more authoritarianism (this is well documented in Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas). Pluto empowers, intensifies, and magnifies what it comes into contact with, so in this case it is intensifying the Saturn themes of contraction and oppression. The conjunction between two planets launches a new beginning in their cycle together. A plausible hopeful outcome of these two planetary archetypes joining together is a transformation (Pluto) of old, toxic structures, systems, and authorities (Saturn) that reign and cause destruction, but that’s the long game. For the time being we are still in the middle of watching the birth of this aspect unfold, so all we can do is be present with what it is stirring up for each of us. Saturn rules fear, isolation, and deprivation; and Pluto rules viruses, epidemics, disasters, and death, but also rebirth, regeneration, and rejuvenation. The pandemic is bringing up different struggles for different people. For the lucky ones, the worst case scenarios will only be confronted in our minds. But one of the features for everyone, in one sense or another, is fear — whether it is fear of disease, of being alone, of losing a loved one, or of enduring a financial crisis, food insecurity, or a loss of personal rights and freedom. (Sometimes I think the things we are most afraid of happening in the future are actually things we have already experienced on some level / in some dimension in the past, and we have residual trauma from it). Pluto, being an outer planet, elevates the issues to a societal level, revealing problems we are confronting together as a whole. Hopefully this collective crisis will act as a reset button and help us work towards creating a more sustainable future.

  • February 3 — March 4, 2020 and March 16 — April 11, 2020: Mercury in Pisces
  • February 16 — March 9, 2020: Mercury Retrograde
  • April 3, 2020: Mercury conjunct Neptune

Mercury rules the flow of information and communication. While Mercury is in Pisces, retrograde, and with Neptune, information may be emotionally driven, contradictory, mystical, creative, and therefore up for interpretation — as opposed to clear, precise, and accurate. Mercury in Pisces is great at “painting a picture” of reality, so it can present on the one hand ideals and higher realities, or on the other hand confusion, vagueness, and blurriness. Outright deceit can enter the picture. 

 

First Act where Mars is a Trigger for the Loaded Guns

  • February 16, 2020: Mars enters Capricorn

Once entering Capricorn, a robust Mars begins almost 3 months of co-presence (being in the same sign) with a commanding Saturn. The two traditional malefics hanging out in the same sign, and a sign in which they both have extra strength, is daunting, because together they join forces and become even more powerful. Mars, the warrior, brings danger and struggle; while Saturn, the hermit, brings restriction and isolation. Mars and Saturn will first be together in Capricorn and then together in Aquarius, both signs where Saturn rules. So Saturn themes win out: caution, guardedness, anxiety, limitations, going inward, scarcity etc. Even though Mars is potent in Capricorn, his actions are frustrated unless they are in the service of Saturn’s agenda... Having to stay within the structure of one’s own home is a literal manifestation of Saturn’s rule. 

  • February 26, 2020: Mars conjunct South node
  • March 20, 2020: Mars conjunct Jupiter   
  • March 23, 2020: Mars conjunct Pluto
  • March 31, 2020: Mars conjunct Saturn 

Volatile Mars moves down a corridor of conjunctions, igniting everything it touches. First it passes the South node, pressuring us to let go of attachments; then Jupiter, making everything bigger (or at least appear bigger); then Pluto, compelling us to face the specter of death; and finally it reaches Saturn, helping us to take practical (and somewhat miserable) steps in order to cope/survive. After March is over we will have come through one of the most concentrated months of the year, in terms of the severity of dramatic aspects packed within a short period of time. I’m not saying I think everything will magically get better after March, but we will have passed a milestone by the end of it. 

  • March 30, 2020: Mars enters Aquarius 

This shift presents us with the opportunity to perceive how we are all in this together. What touches one of us touches all of us.

  

A Key Player

  • April 4, June 30, and November 12, 2020: Three passes of Jupiter conjunct Pluto in Capricorn

This repeated aspect reveals the character of the predicament we find ourselves in. Pluto correlates with the intense upheaval that is happening within the world, societies, families, and individuals — propelled by serpentine forces hidden beneath the surface. Pluto reveals to us the destruction that is probable if we do not transmute unconscious shadow forces into instruments that serve humanity and the earth as a whole. During this year (roughly) of Jupiter conjunct Pluto, Jupiter expands all of these situations represented by Pluto. And on the darker side, this aspect could also be described as a magnification of the wealth that buys power, and a fortification of plutocracy under the guise of democracy. I suppose the forces of light and dark are always co-existing simultaneously. On the spiritual level, Pluto requires and inspires us to surrender to a higher power. And usually there is a benevolent or healing aspect to Jupiter’s influence. Jupiter, though not as Jupiterian while in Capricorn, is still Jupiter, and still has the potential to bring a spirit of generosity, friendship, harmony, and resources to the table (a small stimulus check from the government is inadequate yet unprecedented). Though we are isolated from one another in obvious outer senses (due to the dominant Saturnian influences discussed earlier), we still have the power to work together for the common and individual good. Jupiter’s participation reminds us of that, and Pluto’s energy of intensification could potentially empower Jupiter’s benevolence in this configuration.

 

Like all three-part aspects, the first meeting of Jupiter conjunct Pluto on 4/4 introduces the issues at hand, the second retrograde meeting on 6/30 stirs up the issues to be revisited and reviewed, and the last meeting on 11/12 has the potential to offer a resolution. I am hoping that by the time the third pass in November rolls around, more of the truth (Jupiter) will be revealed and more of the unanswered questions about what all was transpiring underneath the surface (Pluto) this year, will be more apparent. 

 

Intermission

  • May 6, 2020: The Nodes of the Moon shift out of Cancer/Capricorn 

The global crisis reached a crescendo when Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the South node (the dragon’s tail) were all in Capricorn. With the Nodes of the Moon shifting into new signs, the dragon’s head and tail will no longer be accentuating all those forces in Capricorn at once. I imagine this will correlate with a degree of relief.

  • May 13 — June 27, 2020: Mars in Pisces 

For the first time since mid February, Mars is no longer co-present in a sign with Saturn. This initiates a phase of respite during which we are no longer undergoing the first wave knocking us over (spurring us to panic-hoarding, etc) as we try to adjust to a shocking new lifestyle. At this point we are no longer reacting to the first terror of Mars triggers. Now we are settling in but wondering how this fragile situation is going to unfold from here… While in Pisces, Mars won’t be making hard aspects to the other challenging planets, except its conjunction to Neptune on June 13, 2020. On the negative end, Mars and Neptune together could describe rash autocratic moves (Mars) by those in power, amidst a swirl of confusion and illusion (Neptune). On the high end, we have strong motivation (Mars) to come together with a sense of unity and oneness (Neptune) to champion (Mars) for justice. While we experience Pisces, tuning into the suffering of the collective is inevitable and painful, but a much needed feature of this emotional and empathic water sign…

 

Regarding health, Pisces and Neptune both have something to do with the “soup” we are all in together — the invisible sea of germs we are swimming in — and Mars rules contagious and infectious diseases. Does that mean there will be a more extensive spread of the virus stealthily infecting people during this time? In normal circumstances the flow of germs makes us stronger in the long run as our immune systems build in strength through exposure. Perhaps the process of communities acquiring natural immunity during this time will gain momentum, if that is possible. 

  • March 22 — July 1, 2020: Saturn dips into Aquarius, initiating Saturn square Uranus

Saturn leaves Capricorn for a few months, creating a little more distance between Saturn and Pluto. While these two planets take a break from sharing the same sign, many are experiencing a decreased level of alarm related to the pandemic (sensibly or not, we will find out later) and the dark Saturn-Pluto themes of fear and confinement. At the same time we are getting a taste of what the next couple of years may be like. For most of 2021 and 2022 we will be embroiled in another powerful planetary alignment: Saturn in Aquarius square Uranus in Taurus. This transit could be described as the status quo power structures (Saturn) poised in a tug of war (square) with the voices for radical change (Uranus) to confront and uproot racial injustice, economic injustice, environmental injustice, and all other forms of systemic institutionalized oppression and bondage. We are seeing a strong uprising against the horrific brutalities that commonly occur against people of color (George Floyd being a last straw). And this is just the beginning, virus or not. I am finding myself grieving deeply about the pain my beloved brothers and sisters of color have endured for centuries. Mercifully this is now once again becoming too flagrant for white people to ignore. Along with the grief, my heart is also rejoicing as I watch the ubiquitous inequities come to light more visibly for white people to see. Seeds of real change are being planted now correlating with this transit. It is a square, so no surprise, change and reform will not happen without great struggle... 

 

On a side note, Aquarius rules modern technology. The last time Saturn was in Aquarius the internet was born. And now as Saturn enters Aquarius we are in this sudden (sudden thanks to the square to Uranus) phase of life where many have no choice but to conduct their work and socializing primarily online. Though I hope this isn’t the new normal, I do appreciate that this form of communication was never before available during earlier times in history. Once Saturn re-enters Aquarius in December 2020, it will spend the next two and a half years in Aquarius. With Jupiter by Saturn’s side for the better part of 2021, we can expect a proliferation (Jupiter) of new technology (Aquarius) built into the structure (Saturn) of our existence. (For instance, I have heard there are plans for 800,000 more cell towers, 1 million more antennas, and 50,000 satellites continuously radiating from the sky covering every corner of the earth in order to support all the wireless devices in use. How will this impact the health of all creatures?)

  • April 25 — October 4, 2020: Pluto Retrograde
  • May 11 — September 29, 2020: Saturn Retrograde 
  • May 14 — September 12, 2020: Jupiter Retrograde

Retrograde periods give us time to digest and integrate the past in order to facilitate new problem-solving innovations that help us move beyond obstacles. Just as the planets appear to go backwards from our perspective on earth, certain matters in our lives also do not move forward as readily. I am wondering if this will work in our favor during the pandemic, offering us intervals of relative respite with reports of positive cases and deaths slowing down. Will we be able to ease up on restrictions and caution, or will there be a false sense of security? Additionally, Mercury will be retrograde twice more this year: June 18 — July 12 and October 13 — November 3, 2020, and Venus will be retrograde (signifying the many economic and relationship impacts we are facing) May 13 — June 25, 2020. If things fail to move forward at the regular pace, especially during the Mercury retrograde periods, will we feel a sense of interminableness in this new tenor of life? It seems we have been conditioned to dread Mercury retrograde, but we desperately need our retrograde times. We need time to learn from our mistakes. We need time to catch up, time for reflection, time to reframe the past, and time to revision the future. 

 

Second Act in which Mars is a Trigger and Saturn Inches Closer to Pluto Again

  • June 27, 2020 — Jan 7, 2021: Mars in Aries 

Mars is in Aries for an unusually long time, because its entire retrograde period takes place within the sign of Aries. While Mars is in Aries we can expect the Saturn-Pluto themes of disease and darkness to heat up again. Mars will again be in hard aspect to these heavy-hitter planets, and again be acting as a trigger of the crisis that began early in the year. While in Aries, Mars is again extra potent, but now no longer in service to (i.e. ruled by) Saturn as it was when in Capricorn. Saturn is all about fear, caution, and isolation. Mars is more about fighting for rights and asserting oneself regardless of the consequences. Saturn was in charge earlier in the year, but not so this time around. During this second act, both Saturn and Mars are strong and fighting out disparate agendas. The exact squares and potential peak points of stress are:

  • (July 14, 2020: Mars conjunct Chiron)

  • August 4, 2020: Mars square Jupiter retrograde
  • August 13, 2020: Mars square Pluto retrograde
  • August 24, 2020: Mars square Saturn retrograde
  • September 29, 2020: Mars retrograde square Saturn
  • October 9, 2020 Mars retrograde square Pluto
  • October 19, 2020: Mars retrograde square Jupiter 
  • December 23, 2020: Mars square Pluto
  • January 14, 2021: Mars square Saturn
  • January 23, 2021: Mars square Jupiter

The timeframe of these repeated squares will likely correspond with a second wave of the pandemic crisis in some form. But the experience will be different, because it will reflect the advantage of a learning curve already integrated, leaving us more prepared and able to pass though it with more skills, hopefully! First Mars will meet Chiron in mid July. This could reveal our vulnerability and how we have been wounded. Then the first phase of squares begins. After that Mars goes retrograde (September 9 — November 13, 2020) to begin a review process. While retrograde Mars is not able to push forth its agenda as immediately, so that may offer less outward intensity during that time but more internal strife as we grapple with processing volatile emotions and instincts. Also, the South node will not be involved this time, meaning one less challenging point for Mars to trigger. On the other hand, the Mars retrograde creates an extra long period of stressful aspects of intense conflict. This phase of the crisis will be prolonged in comparison with the initial phase of Mars triggers that occurred during the conjunctions in Capricorn in February and March. The conjunction is sometimes the most shocking part of an aspect cycle, because it poses a new problem and brings it to the fore for the first time. In contrast, the square represents turning a corner within the cycle, albeit with struggle and great effort. The months of Mars squares listed above will likely correlate with significant peak points of struggle in passing through the stages of this pandemic life experience and eventually getting to the other side of it.

  • July 2 — December 17, 2020: Saturn returns to Capricorn
  • September — October 2020: Saturn is within 3º of Pluto

Because Saturn retrogrades backwards, completes its dip into Aquarius, and re-enters Capricorn, it again comes into close proximity with Pluto. Although these two planets will not make another exact conjunction during this cycle (other than in January 2020), Saturn will be awfully close to Pluto during September and October 2020. This will also coincide with the Mars triggers mentioned in the previous section. During this period, Mars will be in Aries, in the middle of its three-part square aspect to Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto. As mentioned, it is reasonable to prepare for another iteration of the dark archetypal conglomeration of Saturn-Pluto themes — widespread power struggles and affliction of the masses in some form — until Saturn gains more distance from Pluto, and until Mars is finished setting things off. Since Saturn will not quite reach Pluto this time, I am hoping the Saturn-Pluto themes will not peak as intensely as they did in the beginning of the year. 

 

The Denouement

  • December 17, 2020: Saturn enters Aquarius
  • December 19, 2020: Jupiter enters Aquarius
  • December 21, 2020: Jupiter conjunct Saturn at 0º Aquarius at the Solstice
  • January 21, 2021: Mars conjunct Uranus

By the end of December 2020 we will be entering the beginning of a new 20 year cycle initiated by an exact Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius. Jupiter will no longer be in a sign incompatible with itself. Both Jupiter and Saturn will no longer be sharing a sign with Pluto. And Mars will almost be done (but not completely until the end of January 2021. See the dates in the Second Act section) with its long process of triggering and then re-triggering the challenging planetary placements of 2020. 2020 draws to a close with Jupiter conjunct Saturn right on the winter solstice. This will mark the beginning of the end of the fearsome Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which will hopefully also translate as the beginning of the end of pandemic life… 

 

With Saturn and Jupiter both leaving the conservative earth sign of Capricorn, entering the nonconformist air sign of Aquarius, and meeting at 0º, there is a feeling of inspiration, at least in some small way, reminiscent of “The Age of Aquarius” and all that is associated with it. In the best case scenario this will strengthen an alternative vision for healing, freedom, and justice and encourage new Aquarian seeds of reform to be planted. I long for the time when we are fully on the path towards living in a spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood, and with a sense of the unity of all life. I know there is a growing mass of us with this kind of vision in our hearts and commitment to continue working towards it, so that gives me hope…

 

2021 begins with a bang, as the Saturn square Uranus transit that only just began in the spring of 2020 takes hold for a two year journey. The archetype of fighting for change within an old rotting system is the general theme of this transit, but it will have some interesting twists. Saturn, the planet that represents the old structures, is in Aquarius, a sign that rules reformation and revolution. At the same time, Uranus, the planet that represents radical change, is in Taurus, a fixed earth sign known to be resistant to change. On top of that, Saturn is fortified by the presence of benevolent Jupiter working under Saturn’s rule in Aquarius for much of 2021. And Uranus is vitalized by a somewhat awkward yet ever bellicose Mars in Taurus for a couple of months. So this longer term volatile aspect between Saturn and Uranus kicks off with not just those two planets pitted against one another, but instead four planets involved in the fight. I am eager to see how this is going to play out.

 

 

Talking about the Age of Aquarius, if you need a laugh as much as I do, I recommend watching this: https://youtu.be/fdsCGm4bP3E (The Age of Aquarius scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin)

 

(art: The Carousel of Time by RC DeWinter)


4
February

Making Friends with the Planets

 
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  ~~~~~~~

After a long/semi-permanent hiatus from social media — for the purpose of spending more time outside in nature and less time at my computer — I had an inspiration to write the attached article. I hope you like it. Please let me know. My learning and practice of astrology hasn’t stopped even though I am not posting much online. Much love...

 ~~~~~~~

 

When the planets in the sky interact with our birth charts, especially the longer term transits from the heavy hitters like Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, each transit can last from several months to a few years, and these transits usually correlate with the most growth-inducing times in our lives.

 

For anyone who is paying attention to these transits and anticipating which ones are imminent, it’s helpful to have a way to hold this knowledge without a sense of fear and dread. Otherwise it’s easy to get caught up in negative anticipation as these heavy transits keep unfolding over the years. We certainly get times of respite, but sometimes it can be one challenging transit after another. 

 

So, I have been contemplating how to make friends with these planets. I take inspiration from the Indian/Vedic tradition of literally worshipping the planets in the hopes of gaining their mercy or graces. And I have great respect for those who feel called to do ceremonies or rituals in honor of the planets. For me, however, creating a relationship with each planetary archetype and finding a way to honor that archetype in myself and in my life is what feels more natural and is what I am focusing on in this article. So I thought I would share some of my ideas for how to do this with regard to each of these heavy hitters/great lords in the sky. Tuning into their presence in our lives, through the seemingly magical synchronicity that is astrology, offers one way to get an inkling of the perfection of Divine Intelligence.

 

Saturn

Everyone seems to know about the Saturn Return these days, when Saturn in the sky returns to the same position it was in at the time of your birth, at the age of 29 or so. And in Indian astrology there is the Sade Sati, or the 7½ year period when transiting Saturn goes through three consecutive signs: the sign before your Moon sign, the sign of your Moon, and the sign after your Moon sign. These are usually life-changing years in our lives. How can we propitiate Saturn and flow more harmoniously with these transits? I believe it is by actively incorporating, welcoming, and expressing Saturn principles as much as possible during these periods. Here are a few general ideas for how to do so:

  • Be responsible, reliable, hard-working, and disciplined. 
  • Say no to frivolous things that don’t serve your long-term goals.
  • Spend time in solitude/Be a hermit for awhile/Overcome the fear of being alone (“Seclusion is the price of greatness.” ~Paramahansa Yogananda) 
  • Be frugal and get serious about planning for the future.
  • Contemplate and prepare for the inevitability of your own death and the deaths of your loved ones.
  • Allow deep or chronic sorrow to rise to the surface. It is emerging now because the time is right for revisiting it, reparenting yourself, and moving further along on your healing journey.
  • Accept and take pleasure in the tedious, monotonous, and mundane chores of life. 
  • Think structure: Get structured about your time, create structures in your life that you can count on, and let structured support help you cope.
  • Embrace humbling and ego-annihilating moments and events. Trust these moments are serving you even though it might feel like torture. 
  • Enjoy, respect, and learn from the elders in your life. 
  • Behold the wisdom and backbone that develops in you as a gift from Lord Saturn. 

Uranus

Uranus is the god of radical or shocking change, revolution, freedom, new technology, eccentricity, and electricity. Everyone has a Uranus opposition in their early 40s, which can be understood as part of the so called mid-life crisis, where the typical challenge is to express a more authentic self. But one can have a major Uranus transit at any time depending on one’s chart. Now, as Uranus recently entered Taurus, those of us with more planets or angles in the fixed signs of Taurus, Scorpio, Leo, and Aquarius are currently having or will soon have some serious Uranus energy to contend with over the next 6 years, depending on the degree of those placements. Here are a few ideas for how to play with Uranus:

  • Be open to the possibility of making a seemingly wild or crazy change — one that fulfills a longing that you have been craving for awhile. It may require a significant upheaval in your life (usually it will be in the area related to where Uranus is transiting in your chart or what it is triggering). At the same time, consider any changes made during a Uranus transit as experimental. If possible try to avoid making any permanent decisions just yet as you may end up changing your mind again before Uranus is done with you, or after the transit is complete. And then you might have terrible regret to live with if you threw the baby out with the bathwater as you were creating your more authentic life.
  • Alternatively, go with creative ways to incorporate more freedom, space, and newness into the current structures of your life. This way the major upheaval is circumvented, yet the need for change and freedom is still honored. 
  • Be willing to let go of structures you built under Lord Saturn’s rule. The changes that happen may come to you from the outside, from unexpected events or initiated by others. These changes may appear to be against your wishes, yet Uranus deems change and disruption is needed to free you from attachments, stagnancy, or old concepts that are holding you back.
  • In general: Speak your truth, live out loud, and no more people pleasing if it isn’t coming from an authentic place. In the end, everyone will benefit from any healthy changes you make (even if they resist the changes at first).
  • Receive glimpses from Uranus. Inspiration can strike you. Be open to tiny sparkling glints that reveal an alternate way of seeing things, especially with regard to old beliefs that were once keeping you alive but are now no longer needed. 
  • At times, change for the sake of change can be a good thing in that it shakes you out of self-imposed or confining patterns, and it introduces more flexibility into your being. 
  • Behold your limiting walls crumbling when Lord Uranus gazes upon you.

Neptune

Neptune is the god of oceanic oneness and unity, dreams, visions, and mysticism, but also illusions, addictions, delusions, and escapism. What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been is an apt title for a Neptune transit. Here are a few ideas for how to merge with Neptune constructively:

  • Focus on your spiritual path, whatever that means to you. 
  • Immerse yourself in activities or environments that help you tune into and feel connected with that which is greater than yourself, your greater self, and the greater whole, the cosmos, God, or whatever it is for you… Things like meditation, prayer, being in nature, being in or near large bodies of water, and engaging in creative or movement practices that get you in the zone. 
  • Even though certain things may usually seem black and white, it could be beneficial to contemplate the grey areas at this time. Something transcendent might emerge from the edge of that grey.
  • Try to hear and discern the quiet voice of intuition within.
  • We all have imaginative scenarios that come up from the unconscious, almost unnoticed. Catching one of those is like catching a fish, a little treasure from the deep. To assimilate that content can contribute to a significant internal realization.
  • Be aware that information you receive from others may be lacking in clarity or reality. Conversely, do some self-inquiry about whether you yourself are painting a picture that is somewhat misrepresentative.
  • Be especially mindful about pharmaceutical drugs and other chemical exposures, which you may become more sensitive to during a Neptune transit. 
  • Behold! Out of the vagueness of the oceanic currents Lord Neptune confers your divine destined wholeness.  

Pluto

Pluto is in Capricorn from 2008 to 2024. Where you have Capricorn in your chart — that area of your life is currently going through a slow, sometimes imperceptible, but utterly thorough and complete makeover. It may not be clear now, but in retrospect it will be awe-inspiring to see the fullness of the transformation. When Pluto connects with a specific planet or angle in your chart the transformation process peaks for a couple of years. Here are a few ideas for how to be on friendly terms with the god of the Underworld: 

  • Have the willingness and courage to face parts of yourself you may have disowned, denied, or never encountered before. These previously unconscious parts may initially become known to you through external forces in the form of other people or events, yet in the largest sense, it is all in you. Forces that initially threaten to overpower you impel you to undergo shifts that result in self-empowerment. 
  • Contemplate forgiveness of self and others. I mention forgiveness because sometimes Pluto transits correlate with events that stir up an abyss of pain, resentment, or guilt. If you can begin the process of seeing these events as instrumental for your growth and regeneration, a glimpse of being able to forgive may knock on the door of your heart. (For clarification, I see forgiveness as being able to have understanding, insight, and empathy around something that was harmful or hurtful, but it is not the same as condoning that thing.)       
  • Engage in some type of therapy to begin to process all that gets stirred up. Pluto requires us to see and touch the very depths of our being that we don’t normally contact. We may not have conscious cognizance of all that is being worked out within the psyche as this is happening, yet the transmutation that occurs will be seen more fully at a later time. 
  • Allow yourself to experience a symbolic or psychological death — such as the death of a cherished ideal, self-image, or life plan — that you were attached to but that needs to be let go of now. Though this ending can be painful, scary, or simply revelatory, a rebirth is on the other side of this experience. 
  • Behold the phoenix that rises from the ashes of the old you after lord Pluto pays you a visit.

I hope these ideas for how to connect with these divine archetypes are helpful. For those of you who have any of these planets prominently placed in your birth chart, the ideas above may apply for that particular archetype in a longer term way or in a more global manner for you. The lists above are not exhaustive by any means. I would love to hear your ideas or experiences with how you survived and thrived during transits from these game-changing planets. 

 

See my older post on Astrological Rites of Passage for more about the timing of the Saturn return, Pluto square, Neptune square, and Uranus opposition, etc: http://www.marlenaapplebaum.com/blog/3675

 

(Art by Kagaya)


October 9, 2017

Dear Astrology Friends,

 

 

For the last several months it has become clear that it is a necessity for me to live more in sync with nature. This has required some radical changes in my life and is an ongoing practice, but even the small steps I’ve taken so far are worth the effort. I’ve been spending more time outside, trying to watch the sunrise and the sunset everyday, getting more natural light in my eyes, more sunshine on my skin, bare feet on the earth, and drastically reducing my exposure to radiation frequencies from my iPhone and wifi, etc. It’s been wonderful and so helpful, but it means I’m not blogging much… The writing cycle may come back at a future time… I am still doing consultations… Best wishes to all!

~Marlena


April 12, 2017

Astrology as illustrative and reflective, rather than causative

 

 

I love this quote from Chris Brennan’s new book on Hellenistic astrology: 

 

“Despite the formulaic nature of astrological omens, the astrologers themselves did not necessarily think that there was a direct causal connection between celestial and earthly events. Instead, the celestial omens acted as signs or indications of the future that were sent by the gods, and not as causes of the events that they correlated with. The stars in particular were seen as a sort of ‘heavenly writing’ that was inscribed across the sky. Naturally, as Rochberg points out, ‘the notion of the stars as a heavenly script implies their capacity to be read and interpreted.’ Thus in the earliest Babylonian strata of astrological tradition, astrology was seen to be a type of language.” 

 

This supports what I often say, that the planets do not cause things to happen, rather they merely reflect one’s karma. The birth chart is an illustration of one’s sanskaras for a given lifetime, and there are various techniques to look more closely at a specific timeframe within the lifetime... We are drawn to astrology to gain insight, understanding, and acceptance of the complexity of circumstances we find ourselves in and the attributes we came in with, as well as the inner and outer events and developments that unfold over time. 

 

It appears that some ancient astrologers placed great value on endeavoring towards acceptance of life as it is and developing forbearance, equanimity, and contentment regardless of circumstances (as revealed by, not caused by one’s astrology). The Vettius Valens (c.175 CE) quote at the beginning of Chris’s book is incredible: “Those who engage in the prediction of the future and the truth, having acquired a soul that is free and not enslaved, do not think highly of fortune, and do not devote themselves to hope, nor are they afraid of death, but instead they live their lives undaunted by disturbance by training their souls to be confident, and neither rejoice excessively in the case of good, nor become depressed in the case of bad, but instead are content with whatever is present. Those who do not desire the impossible are capable of bearing that which is preordained through their own self-mastery; and being estranged from all pleasure or praise, they become established as soldiers of fate”

 

This strikes me as counter to the modern concept of “manifesting” one’s desires and dreams. I resonate with Valens and appreciate the realism and dignity of his words. I am still certainly a proponent of trying one’s best to improve one’s self or one’s lot whenever possible, as that may also be part of the path, but striving for equanimity and acceptance if or when certain things seem unchangeable is just as worthwhile.


5
March

Venus Retrograde Mar 4—Apr 15, 2017

 

 

Venus turned retrograde in Aries yesterday. With Venus in the sign that is most opposite to her own intrinsic essence, this may stir up some discomfort. But it is an important and necessary phase of processing Venus-related things (partnerships, financial matters & comforts, beauty & aesthetics, etc) — that should prove to be clarifying and freeing. 

 

Venus, known for her relationship-oriented, other-focused, ready-to-understand, ready-to-accommodate way of being is in the sign that is all about “me,” “my” own needs, what “I” want, and being true to “self.” The context of these opposites is an opportunity to find more inner wholeness.

 

Further, the nature of a retrograde cycle activates things from the past — under the surface resentments or unresolved issues — for the purpose of rousing out those undetected but simmering impediments to a clear and clean interrelationship, and making changes that need to be made. Depending on where you have Aries in your chart will reveal the area of life most affected by this retrograde process. With Mars also in Aries (Jan 28-Mar 9) there is a an extra quality of feistiness, self-interest, or conflict in that same area of your life.

 

Venus will back up into Pisces on Apr 2, which will have a different flavor for that part of the retrograde cycle. Venus in Pisces has more of a sense of unity and unconditional love, which would be a nice result of the resolution of old resentments. Then when Venus makes her final pass through Aries (Apr 28-Jun 6) moving in direct motion, things will be in a different place. Not stuck, but ready to go forth, which Aries likes to do!


March 3, 2017

The transiting nodes through the houses

 

 

Tracking the transiting nodes of the Moon through the birth chart can be very elucidating. It takes about 18 months for the nodes to move through a pair of signs. During that time, the North node will be working one house of your chart while the South node will be working the opposite house. From Western to Vedic, and from modern to ancient astrology, there are several different ideas about how the nodes manifest. From my studies, including my own direct observations over time, I have come to some conclusions… 

 

The axis of houses across from one another form a pair of experiences that are related — these areas of life compliment and balance one another. When the nodes move through a particular pair of signs and opposite houses (using whole sign houses), that axis of experience within your life is gradually processed and transformed in a new way over the course of the 18 months (that it takes for the nodes to complete one pair of signs). As the nodes move through a pair of opposing houses, they bring a major focus to both of those related areas of life, and that usually means a bit of chaos for you in those areas. The nature of the North and South node, however, have some interesting distinctions. Mythologically, the North node is referred to as the dragon’s head while the South node is referred to as the dragon’s tail. This has some suggestive implications. Where the North node travels through your chart, the dragon “eats.” In this area of life, energy is taken in, something new is integrated, and there is an experience of increase and nourishment there. In the opposite area of your chart, where the South node is traveling, the dragon “excretes.” In this area of life there is a letting go process, a detoxification of sorts, and there can be an experience of decrease, loss, and usually a bit of stink there… 

 

At first glance it may seem that the experience of the North node is inherently more positive and the South node is inherently a bit negative, but it usually isn’t that simple. While it’s true that everyone usually enjoys the fulfillment and satisfaction of eating — the process of digesting and excreting is just as critical for life. Sometimes there can be a real crisis in the area of life where the South node is transiting, as the detoxification or letting go process unfolds. It is helpful to remember that this is not a meaningless difficulty or crisis, but a healing crisis — either physically, emotionally or spiritually. The crises may be more apparent when the eclipses (which happen near the transiting nodes) hit significant points in your chart. The eclipses mark heightened moments of intensity within the larger process of the nodes moving through a set of signs and houses. By the time the nodes complete their transit through a pair of signs, certain seemingly fated experiences come to a close and there is a resolution in that arena for you. Then it is time to get ready for a different area of your life to get triggered, stirred up, nourished, digested, processed, and ultimately transformed.

 

We just completed the last of the eclipses through the Virgo/Pisces axis. Starting in May, the nodes of the Moon move into Leo/Aquarius for the next phase of development. If you are interested in looking at how this (or anything else) is playing out for you, schedule a consultation with me. I am transitioning to mostly phone or Skype consultations even for local people. I love working with people in person, but with astrology, connecting over the phone works just fine and the convenience of this will allow me to schedule you sooner.


February 9, 2017

“What about this year? It has been a struggle so far. Any ideas?”

 

 

I recently received this question on Facebook. At first I laughed because it is such a broad and big question, and I am far from having any answers. But if together we take a look at your chart and your life, we may see how the current planets and aspects are reflecting your experience, and that can be so helpful for finding the answers within… 

 

I can offer a brief sketch of some general astrological themes for this year (2017): The revolutionary energies of radical change and wrenching transformation that began a few years ago during the epic Uranus/Pluto square are getting triggered off this year by Jupiter in Libra. Additionally there is an emphasis on FIRE, and air feeding fire this year (with Saturn in Sagittarius, Uranus in Aries, Jupiter in Libra, the Nodes of the Moon preparing to enter Leo and Aquarius, with our first Leo eclipse tomorrow on Feb 10, and Venus and Mars both in Aries right now as well). So it makes sense that collectively we are seeing and feeling instantaneous flare-ups of high-spirited passion and energy, manifesting in all kinds of different ways.

 

I have a lot of fire and air in my natal chart so I am used to intense energies within myself zooming to the surface for expression. For balance I look to and learn from my more earth and water friends. They are not instantaneous in their reactions. When I am able to slow down my responses, and try to really listen, and pause before speaking — it is miraculous. Taking it a step further is listening for the feelings and needs underneath whatever we are hearing or seeing, that might seem irritating, disturbing, frightening, or enraging… When we can bring mindfulness, inquiry, empathy, understanding, compassion, and presence to whatever is arising within or around us — it is a nourishing tonic for this fiery year, with the potential to offer deep and healing solace. I am needing to review my Non-Violent Communication books and I am loving listening to Tara Brach’s podcasts. She continually reminds people to ask, “What is it like to be you?” When we ask this we automatically become an ally, especially to marginalized and vulnerable others (“What is it like to be you?”), or especially to people with whom we vehemently disagree (“What is it like to be you?”), and often most importantly to ourselves (“What is it like to be me, in this moment?”). 


February 8, 2017

School Prayer by Diane Ackerman

 

 

In the name of the daybreak

and the eyelids of morning

and the wayfaring moon

and the night when it departs,

 

I swear I will not dishonor

my soul with hatred,

but offer myself humbly

as a guardian of nature,

as a healer of misery,

as a messenger of wonder,

as an architect of peace.

 

In the name of the sun and its mirrors

and the day that embraces it

and the cloud veils drawn over it

and the uttermost night

and the male and the female

and the plants bursting with seed

and the crowning seasons

of the firefly and the apple,

 

I will honor all life

—wherever and in whatever form 

it may dwell—on Earth my home,

and in the mansions of the stars. 


October 22, 2016

Question about Synastry (relationship analysis)

 

 

I received this question from someone, and I think it’s such an interesting topic that I decided to post about it. 

 

Question (paraphrased):
My boyfriend’s Moon and Venus fall into my 7th house, but my planets do not fall into his 7th house. Will I be the only one stimulated by this? Will he feel the familiarity too? Does it go both ways?

 

My answer:
I have observed and thought about this many times. In the context of a significant relationship, when a person’s planets, especially their Sun, Moon, or Ascendant, fall or overlay into your 7th house (the part of the chart representing partnership), yes it does mean that they embody in a big way whatever it is that you need in a partner, so you may feel strongly drawn to them. They balance you and complete you in a sense. This can apply to a romantic, friendship, business, or any other significant partnership. 

 

So how does this affect the person whose planets or Ascendant fall into your 7th house? In my experience, it is not the same dynamic, but the connection and attraction is still mutual. The person whose planets or Ascendant fall into your 7th house feels called and inspired to be your partner. It feels natural to them to be what you want and need in a partner. This happens on a relatively subliminal level. Some authors say the attraction is stronger for the person whose 7th house is being over-layed by the partner’s planets, as opposed to the partner, but I have not found that to be the case. Your 7th house (i.e. the partnership) provides for them an area and a context for vital expression of part of themselves.


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